Sunday, March 27, 2016

Chasing History - Death Valley - Spring Break 2016 - Part FIve

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The Final Chapter -

The Lady loves the Alabama Hills for a stopover night on the way home. A magical place set up against the back drop of the soaring Sierra Nevada crest, if you can find a secluded camping spot with the area's rising popularity, it is about as perfect as it gets.


We headed out from Cottonwood Canyon to Stovepipe Wells. Exiting the canyon, the vast panorama of Death Valley was obscured in a huge plume of dust. A strong wind from the north was ripping down the valley. It wasn't too bad driving across the sandy area, the wind speed increased right on the edge of Stovepipe Wells with all tents flat and well weighted down with rocks.



That suggestion the Lady had was to take a couple of hours and try to find a petroglyph site we had on the list. We parked the truck and headed cross country. After about 45 minutes we came upon an old trail. We love finding stuff like this!








A few of the rocks along the trail were adorned with ancient art work.













We were in the right place. The trail worked its way along a wash. The wash led to an impressive gorge.








One tank in the series of drop offs still held water, but we saw no animal tracks indicating this water was accessible for wildlife.








A small hilltop held the largest collection of petroglyphs. Many were so old to be almost covered with desert varnish.













The most prominent panel appeared much newer in age.








The variety of artwork was very nice. I found this tree or branch interesting.








We stopped at the interagency visitor center in Lone Pine around mid afternoon. I bought a copy of Geology Underfoot in Southern California.



In the Alabama Hills we found a small two track we had planned, at some point, to explore. Today would work just fine. One camp close to the main road and the rest of the area was ours, pretty nice for a Saturday afternoon. We set up camp.








After popcorn and snacks, we waited for the deeply slanting afternoon light. We walked, explored, and the Lady checked on the possibility of neighbors.








The afternoon light just got better and better. Our quiet walk was relaxing, refreshing, and allowed for reflection back on the incredible adventures we had enjoyed on this trip.


















Can someone tell me, is it wind erosion that cups the bottom of these boulders?



Shadows fell across the landscape until evening color came that lasted only a moment.













Wind rocked us overnight; so use to the wind now, we felt like babes being rocked to sleep in a cradle. We heard one distant Great Horned Owl.



The morning sky was cloud covered. For only a moment the sun peaked through from the east.








This was a splendid end to a wonderful trip.








Since our return, we continue to dream of returning to Death Valley with its wealth of secret canyons to explore. There are, of course many more old signs out there to bring us back. And, I just heard a story that I just might get involved researching. It concerns the mysterious disappearance on an old miner working the graveyard shift in the Coffin Mine high up in Deadman Canyon located in the Funeral Mountains, in, of course, Death Valley..............................................................



  1. The adventures just keep getting better and better! Great, great shot of the silhouetted bush at sunset at the end of part 3 -- Galen Rowell style. And the massive fanglomerate was intriguing -- the vestigial outwash plain remains, after the source mountains are worn down. (This is sort of like the "stream capture/wind gap" phenomenon, but not exactly the same.)

  2. Great pictures as usual and great narrative. I really enjoy spending "e-time" with you guys....

  3. Thanks Monte.Very stunning photos.
    Glad you took us along.